You can help celebrate The Week of the Young Child this week

Come one, come all, it’s a community celebration!  Idaho, along with all other states, is celebrating our youngest citizens this week… our CHILDREN!

The Week of the Young Child is an annual celebration hosted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) during the last full week in April. Throughout the week, Idahoans will be celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers, and families.

weekofyoungchild.jpgThe National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research.  Members work to achieve a collective vision: that all young children thrive and learn in a society dedicated to ensuring they reach their full potential. Locally, the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children leads the celebration efforts with community events across the state.  Statewide, each early childhood education program celebrates uniquely.  For families and community members, this is a great time to show appreciation to the special professionals that serve young children.  Continue reading

Please help Idaho’s children by reporting suspected abuse or neglect (It’s the law!)

041117ChildAbuseKeeping children safe is one of our primary goals at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. This month is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, so it’s a good time talk about what you should do if you think a child might be neglected or abused.

If you suspect a child is abused or neglected, what should you do?

We hope you’ll care enough to call 1-855-552-KIDS. If you even suspect that a child is being mistreated, you are required by law to call and report it. Your call is confidential, and you don’t have to prove neglect or abuse. That’s the job of law enforcement and social workers. You just need to let us know you think there might be an issue, so our child protection staff can start looking into it. Continue reading

DHW social workers “Stand Up” for Idahoans every day

SocialWorkWeek2017

March is Social Work Month, a nationwide campaign to recognize and better educate the public about the professionally trained and certified social workers who “stand up” for vulnerable people every day, including the more than 300 social workers employed statewide by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW).

DHW social workers serve in a variety of roles and job titles across several of the department’s divisions, including Family and Community Services, Behavioral Health, Licensing and Certification, Medicaid and Welfare. They come into daily contact with vulnerable Idahoans who are seeking help, comforting people who are experiencing illness, mental health crises and substance use issues and ensuring they receive the correct care, resources and assistance on the road to recovery.

For example, child and family social workers at IDHW stand up by protecting Idaho children who have been abused or neglected, helping displaced children find a nurturing environment through foster families, re-unification or adoption, and working to ensure young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Continue reading

Please help Idaho’s children by reporting suspected child abuse or neglect

Keeping children safe is one of our primary goals at the Department of Health and Welfare. This month is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, so it’s a good time talk about what you should do if you think a child might be neglected or abused.

If you suspect a child is abused or neglected, what should you do?

We hope you’ll care enough to call 1-855-552-KIDS. If you even suspect that a child is being mistreated, you are required by law to call and report it. Your call is confidential, and you don’t have to prove neglect or abuse. That’s the job of law enforcement and social workers. You just need to let us know you think there might be an issue, so our child protection staff can start looking into it.  Continue reading

Flag on U.S. Capitol was flown in honor of foster youth mentor

Falen LeBlanc

Falen LeBlanc worked for DHW’s child welfare program for 15 years. One of the foster youth she mentored worked in Sen. Mike Crapo’s office and arranged for a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol to be retired in her honor.

With the sunset on Feb. 26, a flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol was retired in honor of a Department of Health and Welfare employee whose career with the department also has ended. Child Welfare Program’s Independent Living Program Specialist, Falen LeBlanc, was honored with the Capitol flag by foster youth she has tirelessly advocated for during her 15 year career with DHW’s child welfare program.

Former foster youth Ricky Lewis and Kailamai Hansen, who now co-chair the Idaho Foster Youth Advisory Board, made the arrangements for the Capitol flag through Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo’s office. Sen. Crapo will send the flag to Idaho, along with a personalized congratulatory note to Falen. Ricky, Kailamai and other former foster youth joined DHW staff on a recent Friday afternoon and showed Falen a webcam view of the flag flying over the U.S. Capitol in her honor as they paid tribute to her.

“It was very sweet and moving,” Falen said. “I am going to miss my co-workers, but leaving the kids that I have worked with over the years is the hardest thing. I am so proud of them; they have grown so much and they are so special. ”  Continue reading

Child welfare: It’s a team effort

Protecting children from abuse and neglect, healing and reuniting families, and searching for forever homes for children is what our child welfare program does. Based on recent stories in the media and a buzz on social media, you may have heard different opinions about that. But keeping children safe and families together is the main reason so many of us come to work each day. And Health and Welfare employees are not alone in this effort.

Foster parents have a huge role in the lives of children in crisis. So do the courts. And so do the guardians ad litem, prosecutors, the schools and law enforcement.

Protecting children and keeping them safe is a team effort. None of us can safely protect and nurture these children on our own. We need the help and support of each other. Without that, the system becomes dysfunctional. Each of us has to do our part, and rely on our partners to do the same. It needs to be a very collaborative process to succeed. Continue reading

Art contest celebrates KinCare families: Idaho KinCare Family Day is Friday, July 17

Last spring, Idaho children living in KinCare with grandparents and other extended family members were invited to explore the meaning of family through poems, essays and drawings in the fourth annual My Family. My Story. art contest. Children from across the state sent in their poems, short essays, and drawings that described how living with someone other than their parents makes a positive difference in their lives. On Friday, July 17th, the children’s art work will be celebrated across the state during Idaho KinCare Family Day, which Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has proclaimed. Continue reading